KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville mother who lost two sons to violence started a support group for grieving mothers last year. Now she’s advancing her efforts and has started another group in Knoxville called Mothers in Charge. The idea is when the grieving mothers have regained their strength, they can work together to make a difference and push for change in the community.
Terry Smith lost her son Dee Freeman in 2007 to violence. Then two years later, her other son, Chris McBath, was shot to death.
“I was saying, ‘Why God?’ Then when I lost Chris I said, ‘What God?’” said Smith.
She grieved alone and didn’t have anyone to turn to. Smith decided no other mothers should have to deal with the loss of a child alone, so she started the Knoxville group called Mothers of Missions.
“It was just so many mothers that were out there, to reach out to them, to let them know that they are not alone. What can I do because I felt alone when I lost my children?” said Smith.
Sherita Mills Young is one of almost a dozen mothers in Knoxville who have lost a child and found support in Mothers of Missions. She and her husband’s 20-year-old son Kameron Mills was shot to death last year.
“He was very funny and charming. He just had an outgoing personality. Everyone loved to be around him,” said Sherita Mills Young.
She says Mothers of Missions has helped her cope with the pain by simply offering support and friendship.
“It’s really important to me in the middle of the night and they really don’t mind what time of the night it is. ‘Call me I’m always here for you,’ and it’s found to be true,” said Young.
Since starting the Mothers of Missions group last year, Smith has been moved to do more. Last month she started a Knoxville chapter of the national group, Mothers in Charge’ The group meets twice a month on the second and fourth Thursday. The group meets at 1400 North 6th Avenue in Knoxville.
“That’s when the mother has strength enough to come out and say, ‘Hey we are going to do this we are going to do that,’ and to be a bigger part of a change for our children that we’ve lost,” said Smith.
Smith says the Mothers in Charge group takes action and pushes for policy change and awareness with the end goal to stop the violence.